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Jan 11 1901


The Evening News, Toronto, Ontario January 11, 1901


Do you ever have "the blues"? The real, genuine indigo article, I mean without a single sky blue tint about it. I once meant a very remarkable women who told me (after a very short acquaintance) that she "did not know what it meant to have what people called "white blues." She actually asked me in good faith for a definition. She had come to the right source for information, for I knew by experience, I always like to be able to oblige, and in this case was able as far as any one is able to define that strangely elusive and pessimistic frame of mind when,

"There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
There's no rain left in Heaven."

At least as far as you yourself are concerned there isn't, and when you feel like talking of graves, of worms and epitaphs. Of course, there are many other names for this state of the blues. The French would call it "ennui," it borders on the English "boredom," and an Americanism for it is quaintly called the "doldrums." By the way, that word is neither an ordinary Americanism or a slang word, it is, I believe, of nautical origin, and refers to the dead calm that sometimes follows a severe gale. Where one knows this variation of the word, it becomes more than ever applicable to "the blues." For this blueness is so often reaction after a gale of pleasure and gaiety; a time when one's sails hang limp and slack, and the life is indeed just a dead, sodden calm. No, doubt you are saying to yourself, "O, yes, one knows all that--but how to get out of the calm?" Ah, there's the rub. The best way to remedy an effect is to get at the cause, is it not? It's no use doctoring disagreeable little eruptions on one's face, for instance, with applied cosmetics, when it is really the blood that is out of order. One must first find the reason for these "blues" of ours. If you are in a "dead calm," the chances are ten to one that you've drifted into a nice little sheltered cove somewhere, and the wind is rushing along merrily outside--but, of course, it is not filling your sails. You are not in the correct position for that. Funny thing about the doldrums, though, did you ever notice that, as a rule, they are not a feature in the lives of busy folk? That is exactly the point. Just as a disease germ will attack with success on enfeebled and weakened constitution, so "the blues" will cloud a mind and spirit, enfeebled by idleness.

We may laugh a little at the many fads which wealthy women have invented for themselves of late years, but these fads are positively a blessing--better a rather ludicrous fad than total inertia--so the fad has become the wealthy woman's antidote for "the blues," and it's a very effective one, too. You know the story of the grim old physician who prescribed in this manner for one of his patients who, for lack of something better to do, had discovered herself to be the proud possessor of many and various ills of the body: Madam, take a daily dose of wash-tub till the symptoms disappear." The man who added to the beatitudes, "Blessed be drudgery," was no idle dreamer, but a man who had seen deep, deep into the heart of things.

All the great thinkers of the world have realized work to be the mighty lever that moves the universe. Carlyle, mighty thinker that he was, tasted labour and drudgery to the dregs. That life which so enriched the literature of England did not set itself down in a luxurious study, with all comfortable accessories, and lightly, with flying pen, give the would those masterpieces of his. "The History of the French Revolution," was written in deepest distrust of self and discontent with his work; but the mighty subject had laid hold on the brain of the man, and he ground it out fine as powder. He made no notes as he went along, and when the first half was finished, it was all destroyed by a careless publisher's mistake. What did he do? Why, he went at it, and did it all over again; eking out his slender store of money by lecturing at the same time. And in those lectures one can find the best recipe for the cure of "the blues" that I have ever seen. "Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life purpose; he has found it, and will follow it... All true work is sacred; in all true work, were it but true hard labor, there is some thing of divineness--all work, even cotton spinning, is noble; work is noble, alone." And it was not only rugged volcanic intellects like Carlyle's that recognized the importance of work in the world--Sweet, delicate woman, that Elizabeth Barret Browing was, these words are hers:

"Get leave to work.
In this world,--'tis the best you get, at all."

So, if your "blues" are caused by not enough to do--find out your work, and do it. When the purifying winds of purpose and endeavour fill the sails, the doldrums will be left behind. No one can find the work which shall remedy your "blues" for you-but you alone. You know your own capabilities, your own weakness best. If you are just and "square" with yourself you will probably very soon, find the thing you should do: whether it will be the thing you would do or not, is another thing. Don't let us ever make the mistake of pitying the people who work hard: pity the idle oafs rather: for life is a very sapless thing to them, and there is always a sign up in the listless windows of their souls: "Blues entertained indefinitely--inquire within." Lowell spoke with a voice of authority when the said:

"No man is born into the world whose work
Is not born with him: there is always work
And tools to work withal, for those who will."

From a New York Letter.

"Doubt the love of woman for man, but never her love for lingerie." So saying, the aisle man made way for a troop of the fair sex anxious to get a nearer view of the "white sale" in progress. By what process of reasoning I know not, but the fact remains that cold, bleak, snowy January is selected as the opportune time in which to display all the diaphanous raiment fitted for lovely femininity's uses. The first half of the month is devoted to lingerie display, the last half to a showing of new madras, ginghams, organdies, mousselines de soie, and every known fabric belonging to the transparent tribe and identical with sultry summer days. It gives one the shivers to gaze upon the heaps of filmy white things scarce firm enough apparently to have undergone the transition from loom product to ready to wear garments, yet one cannot fail to commend the enterprise of somebody who some time ago started this fad which has become a perennial vagary of the shopkeepers. I for one am thoroughly convinced that the personage that begot this idea of "white sale" in January was clever and wise. He must have had the playhouse in mind, for January is practically an intermission between the last scene of the curtain-raiser and the first act of the new play. In other words, December sees winter fashions on the wane, and with February the chrysalis bursts, to release the butterflies of spring styles. The empire craze is unabated. Short waists and long lines seem to live in perpetuity. Nightdresses and chemises, if the latter are skirt length, are cut a la Josephine, with several narrow ribbons forming a girdle about the waist instead of one broad band, as heretofore. We are told, however, that the simplicity scheme is complicated as regards underwear, but when the millennium comes we'll still be watching for the never happened.

If the empire craze would only extend itself into summer gingham and muslin dresses how perfectly delightful it would be! Imagine the cool daintiness and comfort of the short-waisted and long loose-skirted empire gown for midsummer wear! It would indeed be a millennium of comfort and good sense for womenkind.


Campbellford, Jan. 11.-A wedding of more than usual interest was that of Miss Frances Lawrence, only daughter of H. D. Lawrence, who on Wednesday was married to Mr. Clarence C. Bullock, of Brighton. The bride wore a beautiful gown of ivory satin, entrain, and carried a shower bouquet of white roses. The bridesmaids were Miss Bullock and Miss Ethel Bullock, while the groom was assisted by Mr. Hiram Webb, of Brighton. The gifts to the bride were very handsome, and included a cheque for two thousand dollars from the father of the bride, and a dinner set from the mother. Mr. and Mrs. Bullock left for a six weeks' tour through the Eastern States, after which they will take up their residence in Brighton.


One of Norway's most charming daughters was wedded yesterday in St. John's Church, it being the marriage of Miss Ethel May, second daughter of Mr. James W. Jackson, Berkeley avenue, to Fred P. Baxter of Toronto. The wedding was very quiet owing to a recent family bereavement. The bride was assisted by her sister, Miss Rena; Mr. Frank H. Wedd being the best man. The ceremony was performed by the rector, the Rev. W. L. Baynes Reid. After a sumptuous repast the happy couple left by the night train for a tour through the Southern States followed by the best wishes of their large circle of friends.

We are but children with a work-and play-time,
A little hour for laughter and for tears,
A little clinging to the waning daytime,
A little wonder at the fleeting years.
We are but children, filling Time's great measure,
Breaking a toy to weep when it is done;
Out of morn's meadows do we reap of pleasure,
Little to bear hence at set of sun.

We are but children vain in our pursuing,
Building awhile beside the bar of Pain-
O in life's dusk forget Thou all misdoing
And gather as unto Thy heart again.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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